There’s an ancient word in Hebrew – shalom. We translate it peace, but it’s bigger than that. It has a connotation of wholeness & well being – a webbing together of all things under the arch of God and in His love. Whenever we see the fabric of life unraveling, whether it’s emotionally, physically or spiritually, it’s an opportunity for us to engage with God to build shalom.
One of Jesus’ most profound commands was that we ought to love one another the way that he loved us. This cannot be accomplished by human strength alone, for we all have our limits. It takes understanding, absorbing, and relishing in the love that God demonstrates toward us every day, so that we in turn can demonstrate Christ-like love towards others without limits.
We are wonderfully and fearfully made, at the same time we are all flawed. Failing to recognize our tendency to “go our own way” quietly sabotages our lives when we don’t even realize it. When we approach God and His Word, both alone and together, we seek to do so in humility, knowing God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. We readily admit that we need The Great Shepherd to show us how and where to walk.
The sole basis of our beliefs is the Bible, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. It was uniquely, verbally, and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit and was written without error in the original manuscript. It is the supreme and final authority in faith and life in every age.
There is but one God, infinite in power, wisdom, justice, goodness and love, Creator of the universe, eternally existing in three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—each of whom possesses all the attributes of Deity and the characteristics of personality.
God created man in His own image, and man as he was originally created, was innocent before God. But man chose to sin by disobeying God, and therefore was alienated from his Creator and came under divine condemnation. Thus all human beings are born with a corrupted nature and without spiritual life, and are totally incapable of pleasing God in and of themselves.
God the Father, by His own choice and out of love for sinful men and women, sent Jesus Christ into the world to reconcile sinners to Himself. Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. He was God in the flesh, both true God and true man. Jesus Christ lived a sinless life and voluntarily suffered and died as our substitute to pay the penalty for our sins, thus satisfying God’s justice and accomplishing salvation for all those who trust in Him alone. He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died. He bodily ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God the Father, where He, the only mediator between God and man, makes intercession for His own. He will return to earth personally, visibly, and bodily to judge all men and establish His kingdom.
Men and women are freed from the penalty for their sins not as a result, in whole or in part, of their own works, goodness, or religious ceremony, but by the undeserved favor of God alone. God declares righteous all who put their faith in Christ alone for their salvation.
The Holy Spirit has come into the world to reveal and glorify Christ, to convict men and women of their sins, and to impart new life to all who place their faith in Christ. He indwells believers from the moment of spiritual birth, seals them until the day of redemption, and empowers them to live a life pleasing to God.
All who are born again of the Spirit can be fully assured of their eternal life from the very moment they put their faith in Christ. This assurance is not based on any kind of human merit, but upon the fact of God’s election, upon Christ’s complete payment for our sins, and upon the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, whom is the deposit guaranteeing our inheritance.
At physical death, the believer enters immediately into eternal, conscious fellowship with the Lord and awaits the resurrection of his or her body to everlasting glory, and blessing. At physical death, the unbeliever enters into eternal, conscious separation from the Lord and awaits the resurrection of his or her body to everlasting suffering, judgment, and condemnation.
Jesus Christ has instructed those who believe in Him to be baptized in water as a symbol of their new birth in Christ. Baptism is only for those who have personally believed in Christ. Our practice is to baptize by immersion. The Lord also instituted the Lord’s Supper as a remembrance of His suffering, death, and resurrection. Neither baptism nor the Lord’s Supper has any merit in helping a person obtain eternal life.
All true believers make up the church worldwide and should assemble together in local churches for worship, prayer, fellowship, and teaching, in order to become conformed to the image of Christ and to become equipped to carry out the ‘Great Commission’ that Christ gave His followers in Matthew 28:19-20.
God designed marriage for humanity. As first described in Genesis and later affirmed by Jesus, marriage is a God-ordained, convenant relationship between a man and a woman. This lifelong, sexually exclusive relationship brings children into the world and thus sustains the stewardship of the earth. Biblical marriage - marked by faithfulness, sacrificial love and joy - displays the relationship between God and His people.
Evergreen Church began as a dream in the minds of pastors Brent Knox and Mark Darling. It was the late 1980’s, and they were co-pastoring a church in south Minneapolis. They both shared the desire to meet the personal and spiritual needs of young singles and families. This is where The Rock began.
These values are what motivate us. While many of these core values are common to many churches, there are some that are more specific to our church. These core values are what we seek to build into our people.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
Grace is defined as “unmerited favor.” We believe that it is God’s unmerited favor that saves us—not our own efforts, good deeds, or best attempts. God is to receive all the glory.
Romans 12:1-2 (NIV) Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
We believe that His mercy and grace inspire us to offer ourselves completely to God. God’s grace is to be our motivation to follow Him and not the fear of punishment or guilt. The right motivation is foundation for a fruitful life.
2 Peter 1:5-9 (NIV) For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.
We believe that living in full view of God’s cleansing is a lifelong pursuit, foundational to character development, and is easily forgotten. God’s grace is central to a growing Christian.
Matthew 22:36-39 (NIV) “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.”
We believe that the pursuit of knowing and loving God is paramount to being a committed follower of Christ. Our love for God and devotion to Him must be our deepest passion and greatest motivation—more than possessions, human relationships, and accomplishments.
John 1:1-2 (NIV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
We believe that when you are reading the Scriptures, you are not just reading about God, you are engaging God Himself. God’s foremost means of communicating with His people and expressing His will is through the Bible.
1 Peter 2:2 (NASB) …like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.
Ezra 7:10 (NIV) For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel.
We believe that a personal, daily habit of reading, obeying, and teaching His Word is critical for spiritual growth.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 (NIV) All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
We believe that the Bible is our final authority for truth. It is our instruction manual for all of life. It guides us in our relationships, raising our families, and even our behavior in the workplace!
2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV) Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.
We recognize that the Bible is sometimes difficult to understand and was originally written in different languages and to different cultures. We must work hard to correctly understand it.
We desire to develop our Biblical understanding in community. We believe that listening to different opinions, experiences, and perspectives and working them out together inevitably gives us a clearer picture of the true meaning of the Scripture.
1 Timothy 2:3-6 (NIV) This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men—the testimony given in its proper time.
We believe God has a heart for all people and wants to save every one. God is inviting us to share His heart for people. He is inviting us into His mission to save people. He is inviting us to co-labor with Him.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (NIV) All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
1 Peter 2:9 (NIV) But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
We believe that God desires every individual in the church to personally embrace the Great Commission. We are all “missionaries” wherever we are located. All believers are to be “on mission,” to do their part in reaching their city, nation, and the world for Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
We believe every individual needs to be able to give reasons for their faith.
Acts 13:2 (NIV) While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
Acts 8:4-5 (NLT) But the believers who had fled Jerusalem went everywhere preaching the Good News about Jesus. Philip, for example, went to the city of Samaria and told the people there about the Messiah.
We believe God calls ordinary people in extraordinary ways to expand the Kingdom.
Acts 2:42,47 (NIV) They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer…and each day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.
1 Timothy 3:14-15(NLT) I am writing these things to you now, even though I hope to be with you soon, so that if I can’t come for a while, you will know how people must conduct themselves in the household of God. This is the church of the living God, which is the pillar and support of the truth.
We believe that the local church is the primary means by which God builds fully committed followers, raises up leaders, and fulfills the Great Commission. Therefore, every believer should be devoted to the local church.
Acts 1:8 (NIV) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Colossians 1:6-7(NLT) This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is changing lives everywhere, just as it changed yours that very first day you heard and understood the truth about God’s great kindness to sinners. Epaphras, our much loved co-worker, was the one who brought you the Good News. He is Christ’s faithful servant, and he is helping us in your place.
We believe that spreading local churches is the primary means of fulfilling the Great Commission. In the New Testament, churches were planted in new areas. Then through the influence of that church, the surrounding area received the Gospel. As those believers grew and matured, more churches were planted and the Gospel spread throughout the world. Ordinary Christians participated in church-planting.
1988 Evergreen Community Church opened doors in Bloomington.
1994 Evergreen, New Hope was planted.
1997 Evergreen, Lakeville was planted.
1999 The Rock was planted in the Uptown area of Minneapolis.
2001 The Rock, Berlin was planted.
2003 The Urban Refuge in South Minneapolis was planted.
All these church and location planting efforts were accomplished through the committed efforts of “ordinary” people in our church. We are compelled by God’s love to plant churches in areas where an evangelical presence is needed.
Of all our core values, our practice of church leadership is the most unique. Our desire is to base our practice on the instruction and example of New Testament church and not on church tradition. Church leadership practice has great implications to the health and well-being of a local church.
Acts 20:17,28 (NIV) From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church….”Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.”
There was only one type of leader in the local, New Testament church. The Bible refers to this person with four different titles: elder, overseer, shepherd, leader. See also 1Timothy 3:2; 1 Peter 5:1-2; Ephesians 4:11; Hebrews 13:7,17.
Philippians 1:1( NIV) Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Philippi, together with the overseers and deacons…
See also Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5; Philippians 1:1.
There were at least two pastors in each church. We believe a plurality of pastors is important for mutual support and accountability, spreading the burden of leading, and better building of the church.
1Timothy 3:1-7,NLT It is a true saying that if someone wants to be an elder, he desires an honorable responsibility. For an elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exhibit self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home and must be able to teach. He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, peace loving, and not one who loves money. He must manage his own family well, with children who respect and obey him. For if a man cannot manage his own household, how can he take care of God’s church? An elder must not be a new Christian, because he might be proud of being chosen so soon, and the Devil will use that pride to make him fall. Also, people outside the church must speak well of him so that he will not fall into the Devil’s trap and be disgraced.
We believe a pastor must fulfill the qualifications in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.
Titus 1:5. (NIV) The reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as I directed you.
We believe pastors come from within the congregation rather than from without. In this way, the church knows the man and the man knows the church.
1Timothy 3:1,NLT It is a true saying that if someone wants to be an elder, he desires an honorable responsibility. For an elder must be a man whose life cannot be spoken against.
We open the office to any man. The qualifications of a pastor in the New Testament define the position as a role for men. See also 1 Timothy 3:1, 2:12.
John 17:22-23 (NIV) "I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me."
We believe that unity demonstrates and glorifies Christ. Genuine love for one another is the best proof of our faith to an observing world.
We advocate unity within all of Christendom. God desires unity between believers both within and without our churches.
Ephesians 4:3 (NIV) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.
We recognize unity does not happen without effort. It requires patience, grace, and love. We believe that unity is a supremely important and worth every effort to deepen in our relationships with one another. We emphasize healthy relationships with every believer.
John 13:34-35 (NIV) “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
We believe that the best place for developing unity in love is in our “small groups” in homes. Only in small groups can the “one another” commands be practiced successfully.
We believe spiritual growth occurs best in small groups. This is why we require regular participation in small groups for membership.
Ephesians 5:21-6:4 (NIV) Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” “This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3“that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
We believe in developing strong families. Strong families demonstrate God to the world. Two of the main pictures God uses to describe His relationship with the church are marriage(we are the bride of Christ), and parenting(we are God’s children).
We believe that God designed men and women to be different. The husband and wife have differing but complementary roles in the family. The husband is the head of the household, loving and leading his wife, as Christ as his example. The wife is to support and respect her husband.
We believe parents are responsible for their child’s upbringing in matters of spiritual, academic, and personal training. The church’s role is to support the families by building parents and equipping them for the training and nurturing of their children. We encourage parents to be involved with their children in youth ministry.
We believe we are called to aim young. The future of our church and the future of our world depend on the ability of parents to pass their faith to their children. We also desire to position our church to reach out effectively to young people.
1 Corinthians 12:7,12 (NLT) "A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church….The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up only one body. So it is with the body of Christ."
We believe that every believer has at least one spiritual gift to help the church. The church is like a body. If all the “body parts” are working as designed, then the church succeeds.
Ephesians 4:11-13 (NIV) It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
We believe that the role of leaders is not to do all the ministry of the church, but to prepare God’s people to do ministry. We believe every believer is qualified and needed for doing true ministry. Therefore, we believe every pastor is an “ad-minister and every believer is a minister.”
1 Peter 2:9 (NIV) But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
We believe in the equal status of every believer. Rather than a clergy-laity system, we affirm the “priesthood of all believers.” All believers have equal access to God and are called to be workers in the church and in the world.
We believe that the success of the church and personal spiritual growth is dependent on using our spiritual gifts. Therefore, we require participation in a ministry as duty of membership.
The Urban Refuge is affiliated with Great Commission Churches (GCC), a US based fellowship of churches and ministries united with churches throughout the world around shared values, a common history and especially the Great Commission of Jesus Christ. GCC promotes conferences and mission opportunities and offers accountability and mediation services for member churches.